Even if the military jury deliberating his case finds Salim Hamdan innocent of charges of supporting terrorism and conspiracy, he won’t be leaving Guantanamo anytime soon.
As reported by my Tribune colleague Aamer Madhani on The Swamp, the Pentagon said today that Hamdan would be kept as an enemy combatant if he is found not guilty.
“Even if he were acquitted of the charges that are before him, he would still be considered an enemy combatant and therefore would continue to be subjected…to continued detention,” Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said at an afternoon news briefing today.
Morrell said that Hamdan would have an opportunity to go before an administrative review board to appeal his enemy combatant status, but in the near term Hamadan is considered a danger to U.S. national security and will remain in U.S. detention regardless of the verdict.
The extent to which Hamdan poses a danger to the U.S. is unknown. Defense lawyers have portrayed him a simple driver and gofer for Osama bin Laden. But there is no doubt that he was affiliated with al Qaeda. Not that one of his former bosses, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, thought much of him.